The Democracy Book-Principle 7

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Principle 7: The majority vote rules

Smiling & frowning masks
Would you like it if a few of your classmates got to tell everyone else in the class what to do? What if your teacher asked if the class wanted to hear a story or play a game? A few students might try to yell real loud above the others so they could get their way. Wouldn’t it be fairer to do the activity that most of the students wanted? That is the way it is in a democracy. The teacher could put it to a vote and the activity that got the most votes would win. Whoever has the majority of votes wins. Who do you think had the majority in the drawing? Was it the smiling faces or the frowning face? In other words, who won the vote? How many faces are smiling? How many faces are frowning? Did the frowning face have a majority? In a democracy the majority wins.


But Nadesh had noticed that not everyone voted for them to stay. There were three people in the back corner who voted against their staying. “Strange,” he mused, “that they sort of hid in the corner like that.” At least their vote did not make him and Petra have to leave. Everyone knew, or so it seemed, that you didn’t need all the votes, you just had to get most of them. Elena had said, what really mattered was having a “majority” vote. That meant that the ones with the biggest bunch win. 

Nadesh thought on, “even if a few of them don’t want us to stay, they don’t get to ruin it for all those who do want us stay.” Somehow that seemed fair to him—that a few could not hold up the action that all the rest wanted. “I’m glad we got a majority vote on our staying,” he said aloud. “Because, we don’t have any other place to go!” To be continued....

Activity: Ask students for suggestions for a 5 minute activity. They may suggest going outside, telling jokes, hearing a story, etc. Stop after you have two suggestions. Write the two on opposite ends of the board with a lot of space between them. Ask students to go stand at the board by the suggestion they like best. Have them count the number in their own group. Ask, “How many does the first suggestion have?” And then, “how many does the second suggestion have?” Make sure the differing numbers are seen by all the students. After this, have them return to their seats. Now, tell them you want to see if the numbers are correct, but rather than go stand by their suggestion, just hold up their hands when the suggestion they like is called.  “Before we voted with our bodies, but now we will vote with our hands.” Call out the first suggestion and count the number of votes (hands held up) it receives. Call out the next suggestion and count the number of votes it receives. Announce that such and such suggestion has “won by majority vote”.

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